There is much wisdom in the world, and humanity has gone through instances in the past of great spiritual growth, in the times gone by of the great prophets, the enlightened awakened and the sages and philosophers of humanity, both male and female.
The times in the past of profound spiritual growth, through the wisdom and teachings of Lao Tzu, Confucius, Buddha, Mohammed, Jesus Christ and more recently Gandhi, just to name a few, there are many other great and wonderful souls both male and female in our past, that can light our path, if we let them.
For my personal experience the below is a telling quote, which was the beginning of my being present and then creation of mindfulness for me – the quotation is from Lao Tzu, a philosopher and poet, who lived in China around 2,500 years ago, the founder of Taoism and the (probable) author of the Tao Te Ching, a truly wonderful book, which I keep near me. I find new meaning in, almost every time I pick it up.
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious, the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present” – Lao Tzu
This is a very revealing quotation for it gives you the baseline so to speak, the beginning point for living in the present … if we monitor our thoughts we can tell for instance is we are living in the past, we are depressed, of perhaps thinking of a time of a lost love, lost fortune, missed opportunity, regret, guilt or shame … if on the other hand we are anxious … we are concerned about something that has yet to happen … and expectation or a fear that is yet to be fulfilled, such as a specific event or perhaps a general feeling of unease or doubt about one’s future prospect … being present on the other hand, is when we are creating something, writing, composing, playing intense sport, or perhaps even making love, being entertained, or something that requires all our attention to be totally in the present moment .. a place where there is no thought of the past or the future only the moment you are in.
There are many other aspects of thought, such as ego that can only thrive when we are not present, it is fed by the way we look at the world and of course our beliefs and fears, … almost every one of these are groundless, but the ego needs them to give you an identity, to separate you from another, so you can pointlessly compare yourself to another … silly really, for comparison like competition is meaningless, more on the ego, another time.
One is in fact always in the present moment, don’t fight me on this, just wait and see how this unfolds, for we view the past as a memory (a memory from our own perspective, our own point of view) from the present moment … we look to the future as an expectation, again only from the present moment … realising this, is the beginning of the path to being present.
If you are constantly referring to the past, the best way (for me) was to accept it, and so come to terms with it, perhaps even to give yourself an apology, one you may never have received from those in your past, to forgive another, to learn, always to learn from the past, in fact from all experiences.
Now we do not forgive past transgressions for the sake of another, we are forgiving the past so we can be free of it, so it won’t control our actions in the present, to move on and more easily reside in the present moment … always the present moment… to at some time in the future, we bring that present moment out of the practise of meditation and live our life that way, almost always in the present moment is the aim of mindful – meditation at this point, for we must remember, that we do not meditate to find peace, we meditate to be at peace with what we find.
The only point we have here to remember that whilst being present, even mindful, once grasped is relatively easy, but remembering to be mindful, not always is … but as soon as we feel ourselves drifting away from the present moment, don’t engage, return to the present, for there is peace and reality, the “what is” of your life.